The city of Richmond has a new head of economic development.

Mayor Levar Stoney announced Monday that his administration has hired Leonard Sledge as director of its Department of Economic Development. He started Monday and will make $145,000 annually.

“The city of Richmond is growing, and we need to make sure we pursue development that not only expands our tax base but is community-oriented and expands opportunity for all of our residents,” Stoney stated in a news release announcing the hire. “[Sledge’s] background in local government and his record of informed, principled decision-making indicate he’s the right person for the job.”

In the role, Sledge is responsible for bringing new businesses to the city, retaining existing companies and employers, and promoting growth of small businesses.

Sledge has roots in Virginia. He worked for four years as the director of economic development for Hampton. Before that, he completed a stint with the College of William & Mary.

Most recently, Sledge worked in Georgia as executive director of the Henry County Development Authority. The authority is responsible for attracting businesses to a swath of the Atlanta metro area.

Sledge holds undergraduate degrees from Morehouse College and Georgia Tech. He also holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Sledge will report to Sharon Ebert, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer for economic and community development. Ebert came to the city this spring after completing a stint working for a locality in the Atlanta metro area.

Jane Ferrara, who served as interim director of economic development before the city hired Sledge, will remain with the department as a deputy director.

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